Sunday, 17 April 2011

Just a kiss

It is when I hear stories about two people of the same sex getting thrown out of a pub for kissing that I realise how vital Brook's sex:positive campaign is.

Now I wasn't there, and I don't know the details but on face value, being thrown out of a pub in the 21st Century for a 'gay kiss' is quite remarkable. Perhaps even more remarkable because this was a pub in Soho in our capital city. And I am delighted there was direct action taken by hundreds on Friday night. Voicing our immediate objections about unfairness, prejudice and social injustice is vital.

And so is taking the long term view - changing our still wonky culture about sex and sexuality is key to enabling young people to grow up able to enjoy their sexuality and safe from harm. This remains one of the most important tasks we face.

Day in, day out at Brook we see young people who are ashamed, worried, embarrassed and confused about sex and sexuality. Young people who want and need adults to help them navigate their way through adolescence and into adulthood. And it makes me both angry and sad that our society is willing to judge and demonise young people: on the one hand chastising them to be more responsible and more moral, yet at the same time denying them the basic information, education, support and access to services that is vital in helping them to manage their lives both now and in the future, and enabling them to make relationship and sexual choices they can both enjoy and take responsibility for.

And that is the basic premise of the campaign - we must all do our bit to ensure that young people grow up in a sex:positive world. A world where they grow up confident in their own skin, equipped with the full range of life skills they need to take control of and responsibility for their choices and only choosing to have sex when they want to, because it is right for them. So are you doing your bit to improve the culture for young people? It doesn't need to cost money - simply speaking out in support of young people, listening to their views about issues, challenging the sensationalist journalism that reports on increasing rates of teenage pregnancies when the opposite is true, challenging the outrage that comes pouring in when skilled professionals are putting the evidence about what works into practise, providing access to information - none of these things costs money.

And if you are committed to the cause and doing your bit, have you pledged to be sex:positive yet? If not, please go to and pledge now. Its free, its easy and its important. We cannot allow another generation of young people to grow up without the education and support they need. It is morally wrong to do so and unless we take an active stand, situations like that reported at the John Snow pub will continue to happen far too frequently. Most of the time we will never hear about it but that doesn't make it any less wrong.

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